22M deadly Takata air bags not re­paired

Au­tomak­ers scram­bling to fix in­fla­tors linked to 13 U.S. fa­tal­i­ties

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY KEITH LAING Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — More than half of the nearly 42 mil­lion ex­plod­ing air bag in­fla­tors re­called by auto sup­plier Takata have not been re­placed and are still in cars on U.S. high­ways, pos­ing a dan­ger to driv­ers and their pas­sen­gers.

Au­tomak­ers say they are do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to boost re­pair rates for the faulty air bags linked to 13 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the United States. They say they have enough re­place­ment parts for the free re­pairs and in some cases are send­ing teams doorto-door to track down cars.

Con­sumer safety ad­vo­cates counter that au­tomak­ers should be do­ing more, us­ing all of their mar­ket­ing mus­cle to con­vince own­ers of the dan­ger. And they say the fed­eral agency charged with over­see­ing the re­call ef­fort — the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion — has been with­out a leader since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took of­fice, and is not do­ing all it could to make au­tomak­ers ac­count­able.

The re­call of Takata Corp. air bags, which is the largest au­to­mo­tive safety re­call in U.S. his­tory, al­ready touches nearly 13 per­cent of the to­tal num­ber of reg­is­tered vehicles.

NHTSA says only 19.6 mil­lion of the 41.8 mil­lion air bags re­called by the end of Oc­to­ber had been re­paired. The de­fec­tive safety de­vices from the now-bank­rupt Ja­panese auto sup­plier were used in 34 mil­lion cars, and the prob­lem is ex­pected to grow. An­other 20 mil­lion faulty air bags in newer cars are ex­pected to be added in the next cou­ple of years. (Go to www.nhtsa.gov/re­calls to check if your car has an un­re­solved re­call; you’ll need the 17-char­ac­ter ve­hi­cle iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber lo­cated at the lower left of your car’s wind­shield.)

The older the cars get, the higher the risk: Over time, high

Lim Huey Teng / AP

Honda work­ers fix air bags last year. About 11.4 mil­lion of 17.7 mil­lion air bag in­fla­tors in re­called Hon­das and Acuras have been re­paired.

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